The purpose of Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials is to study new methods of treatment, detection, and prevention of pancreatic cancer to improve the standard care provided to these patients. All medicine that is currently used to treat cancer of any type once went through the phases of a clinical trial and was approved by the FDA.
There are over 500 pancreatic cancer clinical trials available in the United States right now. Clinical trials can take years to be completed, so enrolling gives you early access to a treatment otherwise unavailable to the public.
Why Participate in a Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trial?
Clinical trials are important for the progression of cancer treatment and prevention of all cancer types, not just pancreatic cancer. If you participate in a trial, you are helping research progress one step closer to being approved and used to help even more patients with a similar cancer diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer clinical trials also promote individualized treatment, where specific genetic mutations and their effect on the overall prognosis are studied. By studying gene mutations, researchers can identify which treatment could prove most effective and which treatment is best to avoid for the patient. With more participants enrolled in trials, more data will be collected, and researchers will understand more about individual mutations and how they affect the tumor’s behavior.
What Treatments are Available in Clinical Trials?
Though diagnostic tools, imaging tests, prevention methods, and gene mutations are studied, most research is focused on treatments. These are the most common types of treatments used in today’s clinical trials:
- Chemotherapy: These drug types are already commonly used for patients, but trials study the combinations of chemotherapy drugs in hope of increasing survival rates and reducing side effects.
- Radiation therapy: The different methods of giving radiation are tested to maximize the cancer cells attacked, while reducing the number of healthy cells that are damaged.
- Immunotherapy: The patient’s own immune system is boosted to fight off the cancer cells. This is done through antibodies, vaccines, and immune checkpoint inhibitors to jumpstart an immune response in the patient.
- Targeted therapies: These drugs attack specific targets which aid in cancer cell growth and reproduction such as mutated genes, proteins, and enzymes. These therapies can be used as an alternative to traditional chemotherapy.
Eligibility criteria for each clinical trial is different, so it is important to talk to your doctor to see if clinical trials are right for your individual case.